Senate yesterday confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Barrister Victor Chinemerem Muruako as the chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, amid protests by some senators.
The confirmation followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), in which he said the nominee is qualified to occupy the office.
But the aggrieved senators, including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and James Manager, argued that the President ought to have sent the list of membership nominees along with the chairman of the commission, and therefore said that the confirmation is suspended.
Senator Abdullahi, while objecting to the confirmation of the nominee, explained that full nominations to the Commission’s board were yet to be forwarded by President Buhari, adding that the chairman cannot be confirmed alone without the complement of the full membership of the board.
He, therefore, moved a motion for the confirmation to be stepped down pending when the President constitutes the commission’s board and sends the nominations to the upper legislative chamber for screening and confirmation.
The motion was supported by Deputy Senate President, who observed that going ahead with the confirmation of the nominee without the complement of the full membership of the board was not the intent of President Buhari.
Omo-Agege, therefore, suggested that the nominee’s confirmation be put on hold.
“I don’t believe it is the intent of Mr President to nominate a sole administrator. Clearly, that cannot be his intention.
“The commission is entitled to the full complement of members, and my view without prejudice to the ruling you just gave and the man’s qualifications, would have been for this to be put on hold while we await Mr President to bring the other members,” he said.
According to him, “going ahead to do this (confirm nominee) right now, is validating the sole administrator-ship that he has enjoyed for the past seven years, and it is wrong, Mr President.”
But Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South) said the nominee should be confirmed having been in the office in an acting capacity for seven years.
“Now, only his name has been submitted to us to screen and clear without his members. It is an ugly story.
“However, I would suggest not stepping down, we clear the man, but you have the responsibility to convey not in writing, but talking to Mr President that this is the situation. Somebody somewhere is clearly playing a game which is not correct, that is why we are here,” he said.
Also lending his support for the confirmation, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South), cautioned the lawmakers not to act against the provisions of the law by refusing to confirm the nominee, explaining that the Fiscal Responsibility Act does not make it mandatory for the President to submit the complete names of nominees for appointment to the Board at once.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan prevailed on his colleagues to support the confirmation of the nominee pending when the full list of nominees was sent to the Senate by the President.
“If we don’t confirm, this person would still be acting, so it makes little or no difference really.
“I suggest we do the confirmation and insist that the chairman does not constitute the board of the commission, because the commission is supposed to have the full complement of what the law says.
“So, we do the confirmation and write to the Executive to nominate the remaining people to form the commission,” he said.
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